GILEAH & THE GHOST TRAIN
Gileah & the Ghost Train
The Love Library TLL-100
Gileah is a talent of many faces (and phases) . A music-driven Gileah Taylor first forayed into songwriting and recording with a collection of children's songs, lullabyes she calls them, written for herself as much as a public. When the bug bit hard, she recorded her first full album, 2005's "The Golden Planes". Soft, introspective and at times even tentative, it is a journey towards that Truth which eludes us at every turn--- The Truth Indefinable, if you will. Childlike in its simplicity and presented with Gileah's unique phrasing, it takes Faith through its paces on a variety of levels and then some. Released on her own Grey Hat label, it raised more than a few eyebrows and gave impetus for The Ghost Train and this album.
The first couple of verses of the opening track, "The Devil", mirror the final track on "The Golden Planes", but from there, outside of Gileah's voice, similarities fade. The plodding piano chords pound steady as Train member Kevin Woerner fades slightly fuzzed guitar into the background until mellotron-like chords add their layer over light feedback. Then, full-on bass and everything builds majestically to crescendo before fading into electronic purgatory.
While that doesn't really give an indication of the actual sound, it reflects Gileah's songwriting technique. Of the ten songs on the CD, none are what one could call straight pop, yet the attention to melody and beat borrows strongly from that genre. The followup to "The Devil", "The Emergency" in fact falls largely within range, but Gileah has a strange way of skirting the A-B-A-B-C formula which mostly defines that musical style. Perfect pop verses give way to not-so-pop chord progressions in the chorus or vice-versa, to the point that defining the music becomes frustrating. The simple fact of the matter is that Gileah is no beginner, and like many of the finer songwriters out there, is rapidly developing a style of her own. The straight-ahead rocker "The Satellite", for instance, in spite of great hook, has her fingerprints all over it. As does "The Lazarus" and "The Light Princess" and.....
Probably the best example of Gileah's development is the final track. "The Spirit" is an upbeat folk rocker until full choir and band take it into rock hymn mode. Reminiscent of some of the 2nd Chapter of Acts' best songs, it begs volume for full effect.
Oh, did I forget to tell you that Gileah is a Christian? I guess it slipped my mind. I suppose it is a factor, but the songs don't beat you over the head. There is a subtlety to the lyrics which skirts the question. Besides, it's not in Gileah's character to talk (or sing) down to anyone. She is still looking for answers. One has only to look around to see how really universal that is.
- Frank Gutch